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Thread: Please give me advice about Sereniyy

  1. #1

    Default Please give me advice about Sereniyy

    So, Serenity is my Kelpie x ACD, she is a year and a half. For me, she is fun, lovely, loyal, smart and a joy to be around. When it comes to other people, Serenity has issues. She has had these issues since she was a pup, I'm talking 8/9 weeks here.

    I've come to the point, I don't know if I'm the right home for her as I don't %100 believe I will always keep her from harming some one and I'm not able to give her exactly what she needs. I've been thinking about putting her to rest, finding a suitable home (such as a work farm since I wouldn't just give her to the average owner) or if I continue to work with her and believe I can do right by her, I'll keep her.

    Can people give me advice, please. I do have some questions.

    Serenity is very eager to please and work, she love's to work with me. So, I know she has hope in her.*

    I'll give some history on Serenity, you don't need to read it but I thought some may be interested.

    Between 8-10 weeks I took her to my work (I worked with children) so she could socialize. She'd never want to stay with the kids. If they had her, she'd always fight to come back to me.

    As she grew a bit older, she'd start charging at certain people, barking, sometimes. Other time's she'd run forwards people (not barking) but then she'd run behind me.

    At 3/4 months she growled at this boy she had met before. I was at the park with her when two kids came to it, she stared at them and then growled.

    At 5months when some one went to pet her, she lunged for the lady's face.

    While at a pet shop, a guy came around the corner and she stared him down, she stood in front of me went stiff, growling. I walked away with her but when I was in line, the same guy came near us, this time she layed down on my foot, stared at the guy and growled. She was fine with the other people in the pet shop though.

    My big wake up call was when she was over a year, I was at my dog training school when something about a lady set her off, she became fearful, she started barking/lunging at everyone BUT they managed to be able to feed her, though she was still fearful.

    Back in November I was hiking with her and I sat down because I was tired, I placed her leash beside me (not holding it). I heard some one walking by, before I could grab Serenity, she was nipping at the guys leg. I did manage to get her off of course.

    Just last week my brother (he's interacted with her a few times) came into the back yard and she went after him to nip him.*

    Since she hit a year, she hasn't been charging/barking at people, all the charging/barking was when she was a pup. Keep in mind, the above negative behaviors arn't happening all the time.

    I've made her sound horrible but these are some things that have happened but she HAS had GOOD days. When I took her lure coursing, she'd ignore the people. While growing up, she'd let some people pet her and she seemed to enjoy it, including a few kids. She fell in love with my friends gf as soon as she went my friends gf; first time meeting her. Before the bite back in November, I was slack and I wasn't paying attention, while a lady was petting Sunny, she pet Serenity and Serenity did fine. I took Serenity to the pet shop about 4 weeks back, when I was paying for my stuff, Serenity jumped on her back feet, placing her paws on the desk. She then pushed her head towards the lady for a pet. If you have food, she love's to eat it from people.

    So, she is very mixed at times and that's what worries me but also give's me hope. I don't know if she feeds off me being anxious/fearful at times. I know when I feel uncomfortable, she will become defensive, especially around males/or if some one surprises me/her. I sometimes wonder if this is more due to fear, her being anxious, being protective or feeding off me or a mix of all of that, depending on the situation. I just don't know.*

    I have been to a behaviorist and have been doing what the behaviorist has told me. I am getting a few books to read. I know a few of you own or know about herding breeds so I'm hoping for anything that may give me hope to want to keep working with her. I have even got a communicator to speak with her and with what she said makes me believe Serenity is feeding a lot off my emotions, she feels she needs to protect me at times but she also may need more work then I can give her.*

    1. Is it possible to get her to the point of being comfortable and fine around strangers?. Even maybe enjoy being around strangers?. I've been told it is and I believe the person that told me.

    2. Would it be possible to do agility/lure coursing/herding with her?. She's done these before but after nipping some one, I'm afraid of having her off leash around people.

    4. Would giving her some medication maybe help her anxiety?.

    5. Does anyone know were I could get her evaluated so actually see if she's fearful or just anxious or whatever?.

    6. If I were to try and find her a home on a ranch (granted she will actually work) where could I start looking for a home like that?.

    If anyone has anything else to say, feel free to tell me. I'm lost because I really do adore her and want her to stay but at the same time, I don't know if it's for the best. It's hard to say since I even favor her over Sunny to a extant.

  2. #2


    To add; when she 'growled' no teeth were showing. It reminded me of a grumbling noise.

  3. #3



    Have already told you where you need to go to get a proper opinion on exactly what her issue is re: anxiety, fear etc, I know it is hard without a car to organise things but sometimes you just need to make it happen for the sake of the dog.
    The behaviouralist you are seeing is a joke. I have seen more and more dogs coming out of her classes off there heads. And the fact that she can't actually tell you why your dog is showing aggression means she isn't doing her job properly.
    I also know you have spoken to someone I recommended you to and they told you to see a specific Vet to make sure there was nothing physically wrong with Serenity (highly possibly considering this has been an ongoing issues since early puppyhood) before you waste money on lots of behavioural sessions that won't fix a health issue.

    Growling whether it is with teeth or without is still a warning, ie: back off or I will bite.
    No such thing as a nip. Dogs bite they just have different levels of bite ie: a "nip" is a Level 1 Bite.

  4. #4


    I knew you were here silly, lol.

    Where have you heard dogs are leaving her place, a bit more screwed up?. I'm shocked since she seemed so good.

    I may be able to get Serenity to the vet, if I can convince my sister to take me which is unlikely now.. I can't get her to were you want me to go for training . I can once I can drive but that's a few months away. So, if I decide for her to stay, I can work with her and get her more help once I can drive.

  5. #5


    Also, I didn't actually know they could tell me if she was anxious or fearful, now that I know, thanks.

    And I honestly thought there was a difference between a nip and a bite. Serenity said it was a nip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    It sounds like that unpredictability is what is mainly doing your head in.

    I think getting her checked by a good vet would be an exellent start. And then finding a good behaviourist who can work out why she is behaving like that and then work on a training program that you can handle too. You should not have that many questions left after seeing a behaviourist, I would have thought.

    From what I've learnt here and reading articles, training and things like calming signals could make a big difference. I hope you will get her to a point where you trust her off the leash again and can do more work with her. I'm sure others here will have more useful advice.

    Good luck. You clearly care deeply about your dog and I hope it all turns out well for both of you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    A good vet is always a good #1 stop, to make sure that she is OK health wise.........

    If her health is fine a good Behaviourist/trainer is next.....someone who can help your dog and sounds like you too. If you are anxious your dog will be anxious.

    Ared flag to me is that it sounds as if she was forced to deal with kids as a puppy....puppies should be protected form things they are worried/frightened of/ Socialising is very important, but is should be happy and fun. not fearfull. If that has happened, it is almost set in concrete. Puppies that have got a fright at that age will often carry that with them forever

    "Between 8-10 weeks I took her to my work (I worked with children) so she could socialize. She'd never want to stay with the kids. If they had her, she'd always fight to come back to me".

    I have one dog who is afraid of chickens and ducks, because the goose attacked her when she was 10 weeks old......totally unexpected, but my fault. And no amount of training and desensitizing has been able to reverse it. It is a little sad to see a 73kg dog run away from a friendly duck. that is why it is so important to look after our puppies and keep them safe, whilst they are socialising.

    It is going to be hard work reversing her fear/anxiety......She will need to be assessed properly and hopefully helped. Sorry , but sending her to a farm will not help. A good work dog needs to be confident and social too and cope with training and unusual situations

    I love using calming signals, I do all the time. but you will have to be able to read your dog. they have to be used before the sh** hits the fan......They are a prevention and the handler requires confidence, to make the dog calm.

    Agility training is good to give a dog confidence. it is what I do with all my Rescue dogs........mine love it and they gain confidence and it is really good training off lead. But you have to start with basic Obedience first, so that you will have good recall, wait, left, right , over and such.

    I hope you can find someone to inspire you and give both of you the confidence you need.........Remember a lot of anxiety travels down a lead from handler to dog. It would be interesting to see how she handled with someone else........I like to take a dog and walk away from the owner, with a little bit of training in between, into a crowd and see what happens.....
    Pets are forever

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I was very careful to protect my puppy from children when I was socialising her. Children like to poke dogs in the eyes and treat them like stuffed toys. Ie squeeze the crap out of them and hug them where puppies should never be hugged.

    So that would possibly be the start of your problems. And most Kelpies are extremely soft and don't do well if you ever scold them - so that wouldn't help either Ie they will connect your scolding with whatever it is they were growling at and then try to get their repelling attack in first.

    What K&P said - you need a better trainer. Keplies do love to learn. Meantime, probably not a good idea to let randoms anywhere near her for a pat. Protect her from them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    what area are you in?

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Nekhbet View Post
    what area are you in?
    QLD, near Beenleigh.

    Also, thanks for the responses so far everyone.

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